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Title: Attitudes towards human papillomavirus vaccine amongst students of health care professions
Authors: Farrugia, Zvetlana
Keywords: Papillomaviruses -- Malta
Vaccination -- Malta
Medical care
Health occupations students
Issue Date: 2011
Citation: Farrugia, Z. (2011). Attitudes towards human papillomavirus vaccine amongst students of health care professions (Master's dissertation).
Abstract: Background Health care providers are viewed by the public as credible and trusted sources of information regarding vaccines and their positive attitude is associated with higher rates of vaccines coverage. Since undergraduate training shapes health care students' attitude towards vaccines the aim of the study is to compare knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of first year with final year students in relation to HPV and to explore students' behavioural attitudes in intention and actual uptake of the HPV vaccine. Methods A cross-sectional study was performed obtaining quantitative data through a self-reported questionnaire completed by medical, nursing and pharmacy students in their first and final year of study at the University of Malta. Criterion validity of the attitudes questionnaire was carried out to show the ability of the attitude questions used in identifying individuals with intention to receive the HPV vaccine. Analysis of quantitative data was carried out using both descriptive and inferential statistics. Results Out of 369 students, 242 (66%) completed the self-reported questionnaire. Only 17 students out of 242 reported that they received the HPV vaccine. The level of knowledge of students was significantly higher (p<0.001) among final year students compared with first year students. The reported level of knowledge on HPV in the majority of both first year students (90.5%; n=133) and of final year students (80.1 %; n=76) was less than desirable scoring ≤ 6/ 12 (≤50%) of knowledge questions correctly. Apart from the attitude regarding vaccine safety a number of attitudes were found to be significantly different between first year and final year nursing and pharmacy students but not among medical students. For the questions measuring influential people's approval for vaccine uptake and attitude towards safety of HPV vaccine females' mean attitude score was significantly higher than that of males'. Final year pharmacy students showed less perceived stigma towards HPV infected individuals than first year students. Attitudes found to be predictors of intention to receive the HPV vaccine are influential people's approval of the vaccine; practical barriers, perceived barriers due to insufficient knowledge, perceived benefits in terms of protection and perceived severity of HPV related disease. Interpretation Students from all courses had a low level of knowledge prior to their enrolment at university and gained little despite training. Students held a positive attitude towards the HPV vaccine and had low perceived stigma towards individuals infected with HPV. The attitudes identified by this study refer to one's personal use of the vaccine and this may give an indication of the students' attitude towards the HPV vaccine when they become practicing health professionals. HPV vaccination rate in the present study was low either because students valued more the protection offered by abstaining from sexually activity or because the vaccine is expensive.
Description: M.SC. PUBLIC HEALTH
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacM&S - 2011
Dissertations - FacM&SPH - 2011

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